Making Movies

Well now that we have a much more diverse set of skills in regards to gathering media, we had just one last task. The last thing we had to do was gather video of an event and piece together a video that summed it up. We chose to cover the turkey dinner that is held in the student union every year. We showed up early and interviewed a few of the volunteers that were working the dinner and then took other various shots of the dinner taking place.

I thought gathering the video and the the process as a whole was pretty fun. I always like to see a finished product after going through a process that takes some nerves and a few hours of your time here and there. Just as with photojournalism, there were certainly some awkward situations that occurred while gathering video. Some people just don’t like to have a camera on them. We ran into that a few times during this project, but luckily, we were able to find plenty of people who didn’t mind it.

The thing that surprised me the most is how important it is to have a vision of your end-product throughout the whole process of constructing a video story. That’s one thing that I don’t think we did very well on. We just kind of winged the process of gathering the audio and hoped we’d have enough. Although it worked out fine, it is easy to see how a story could end up going in an undesired direction if you don’t have a plan from the very beginning. With that in mind, I don’t see why I couldn’t do something like this in the future. Obviously, I’d need a little more practice shooting video, and maybe a bit of an upgrade in the equipment though.

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The Grand Finale

Now that we had a decent grasp on photography, photo editing, interviewing, and audio editing, it was time to put it all together. Our job was to construct a slideshow that was accompanied by audio. The goal was to piece photos and interviews together in a way that told the story that we wanted to tell, without us having to say a word.

My partner, Boyd Deuel, and I decided we wanted to give a kind of visual tour of the University of Wyoming’s Field House and a preview to the new Rochelle Gateway Center. Other than trying to take pictures with cold-enduced numbness in our fingers, there was really nothing exciting or difficult that we ran into while gathering the photos for the slides.

The audio portion on the other hand, was definitely the more challenging part of this project. We didn’t end up nailing down the interviews we wanted until the due day for the project, so that was a little stressful. However, we figured all that out and got the interviews. Then it was time for the ever-time-consuming job of editing our audio. Again, it seemed to take forever and was a little frustrating. Once everything was uploaded to soundslides though, the project came together very quickly and easily.

Even though there were a few moments when this soundslides project made me want to pull some hair out, Boyd really made it easy to work with a partner and knock this project out (just in time). The only problem that Boyd and I ran into was trying to match our schedules and find time to work on the project. His schedule seems to be overloaded during the evening and naturally mine is overloaded in the morning, so that was challenging.

Looking back at the project, my biggest takeaway at the moment (because its so fresh in my memory) is that I’m just happy to be done with it. I thought this project was very interesting and I always love to see a long process come together and produce a finished product.

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Cutting and Pasting

Well I used to think that the interview process was pretty challenging. That was before I went through the process of editing and tinkering with the interview until it sounds right. This was my first time ever messing with audio editing, but I gave it my best shot. Here is the edited version of Rex’s interview from my previous blog.

The best part about this project was that everything I was doing was foreign and completely new to me. Sometimes I feel like that’s a bad thing. However, in this case, I felt that I went from absolutely no knowledge, to having a decent grasp on how to execute this whole process at a decent level. One of the biggest thing I learned (this was a tip in class) was that a lot of times it is easier to build an audio file instead of destroying it. By that, I mean that it’s easier to copy and paste sounds to a new layer rather than just deleting portions within the original file.

I enjoyed the whole experience for the most part. However, as I think most people would complain about, I didn’t like how time-consuming the editing and posting process was. I sat down this afternoon with the intent to knock out all the editing pretty quickly. Next thing I know, its been two hours and there’s barely a light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t say I wasn’t warned of this happening, but it still surprised me that it took that long. Apparently, my eyes aren’t accustomed to staring at my Mac screen for that amount of time.

The only thing that I wish went a little smoother was my audio editing skills and knowledge. It seemed pretty foreign, and I felt like I didn’t really know what the standard for quality would be. Hopefully it doesn’t sound too bad!

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Raw Audio, All the Way From Boise

Doing new things always seems to cause some nerves, and giving my first recorded interview was no different. However, I ran into a little bit of good timing on this week’s task. The interviewee in this file is actually my best friend who flew in from Boise, Idaho and was able to give me a unique interview.

Rex really made this an easy job for me. With him being one of my close friends, and being able to talk about something close to his interests, all nerves seemed to go out the window. Talking about track was easy for him and asking questions was easy enough for me, because Rex doesn’t mind talking someone’s ear off. Rex actually flew in the day of the class interviewing. So unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get some experience and the feeling from being interviewed myself.

Comfort. This, I now realize, is one of the biggest keys for pulling off a successful interview. The comfort level between the interviewer and interviewee, how comfortable the interviewee is with his/her surroundings, and how comfortable the interviewee is with the topic at hand are all huge factors when considering how smoothly an interview will go. That’s definitely the biggest lesson that I learned from this.

After listening to some of the audio work that the New York Times put together, I have really enjoyed the process of collecting audio, uploading it, and I’m really looking forward to editing the audio and seeing the end-product. The only part that I didn’t really enjoy was caused by me not preparing enough questions before the interview. Luckily, with a bit of quick thinking, I was able to avert a couple awkward silences. Even though Rex is my best friend, I still wasn’t really aware of what his routine was like at Boise State. I’m hoping you’ll like learning about that as much as I did.

Other than the occasional slaps at Rex’s hand to get it away from his mouth, and a need for some quick on-the-spot questions from me, I don’t think this interview could have gone much smoother. Obviously, it’s up for interpretation from others, but I really think that I can make something cool out of a simple interview that took less than five minutes.

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Stumbling Upon Embarrassment

This photo was shot in Boulder, Colorado at the Colorado University vs Oregon University game on October 5.

This photo was shot in Boulder, Colorado at the Colorado University vs Oregon University game on October 5th.

For those college football fans out there, you’ll understand the significance of this photo once you realize what game this is. I was lucky enough to get invited to the game when Oregon visited Colorado on Saturday. The best word to describe the stadium was ‘electric’. Although the Buffs ended up getting beat 57-16, I was able to capture the passion that their fans emitted before the point deficit grew too large. The creative photography device that I used in my ‘Ducks v. Buffs’ photo was viewpoint. I had seen several dozen pictures of fans from the bottom row looking straight up (which was my original plan), but I thought I’d try something new. The viewpoint of this shot makes it unique.

This is Josh Hillman, who is displaying the new Windows software in  the UW Union, on October 8th.

This is Josh Hillman, who is displaying the new Windows software in the UW Union, on October 8th.

This picture was shot a lot closer to home. I had no intent of taking Josh Hillman’s, ‘The Windows Explorer’, picture when I went into the Union. No, I legitimately wanted to see what Microsoft has been up to, because I actually just got done with a research paper about the corporation. Hillman impressed me not only with his knowledge, but with his passion when explaining the software. I really wanted to capture a picture of him at his best. The creative device that makes this picture work for me is the balancing elements. Hillman is on the left side, while his computer, which is just as important in the photo for story-telling purposes, balances the picture on the right.

By the time Nick Knutson, Kyler Robinson, Mackenzie Kinney, and Morgan Tempte noticed me right behind I took a picture of them in Washakie Center.

By the time Nick Knutson, Kyler Robinson, Mackenzie Kinney, and Morgan Tempte noticed me right behind I took a picture of them in Washakie Center.

This picture, ‘The Sneak attack’ was pretty fun. I was sitting with some friends in Washakie, and I was kind of stressing out because I just felt so insanely awkward taking a stranger’s picture. One of the kids at the table that I actually didn’t know took sympathy on me, (I’d like to thank him for that) and pointed out this group of people a few tables away. He told me that they would definitely be good-hearted about something funny. I wasn’t sure if sneaking up behind them would be funny, but I feel like I got a really neat picture. Plus, they were great people. Again, I think that the viewpoint sets this picture apart. I thought it was really cool how, by some stroke of luck, I managed to get all four faces in the picture.

Jason Christensen was studying in the COE Library on Tuesday, when I snapped this picture.

Jason Christensen was studying in the COE Library on Tuesday evening.

To be completely honest, taking this ‘Study Break’ picture may have been one of the most awkward things that I have ever done. I was walking to the back of the library with every intention of being studious, and then I spotted an unsuspecting student. I took this picture before he noticed me, and once he did, I was too embarrassed to take another one. I wasn’t quite embarrassed enough to resist asking him if he was the UW football coach’s son though. Jason replied, “Sadly, no.” The creative device that made this photo work for me was framing, for a couple reasons. For one, I think that the table really frames in everything that matters in the picture. All the objects on the table spell out the story that he’s studying, but don’t take away from the main subject in my eye. I also added the vignette effect, which also helps my eye jump to the focus of the picture a little quicker.

This young lady is talking about her future with these men at the job fair that was held in the Union Ballroom on Tuesday.

This young lady is talking about her future with these men at the job fair that was held in the Union Ballroom on Tuesday.

This actually isn’t anywhere close to my original plan for the picture. I was really in need of a photo opportunity, and this ‘Job Opportunity’ provided good timing for me. The job fair signs on campus gave me the idea in the first place. This was one of the only pictures that didn’t actually make me feel uncomfortable while taking it, because nobody even noticed me. My original plan was to create depth by shooting down the aisle and capture multiple conversations at the booths. The only problem was that when I uploaded the photo to my computer, I noticed that nearly everyone was looking at displays (out of the picture). I decided to use the rule of thirds instead, simply by cropping the picture down to where it is. Without planning on changing my photo, I thought there were too many people in the picture to retrieve names.

I am naturally a quiet and shy guy, so I obviously wish I could have acted a little more natural during the process. Taking these pictures made me realize that either you get used to the awkwardness with more practice, or photojournalism isn’t for me. Other than that, I do enjoy taking pictures and actually being able to pick out creative devices and understand exactly why a picture works.

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Dipping My Toes in the Pool of Photography

Aspen Alley, which is found off of Highway 70 going over Battle Pass.

Aspen Alley, which is found off of Highway 70 going over Battle Pass.

With the very small amount of experience that I have with a camera, I am very lucky to know of a place such as Aspen Alley. Although I certainly did not shoot a photo worthy of a postcard, this location, which is practically in my hometown’s backyard, is one that I have seen on a couple different postcards. The dominant creative device I used when taking this picture seemed pretty clear to me. I really feel like the trees on either side of the road really pose as frames for the picture. The main subject of this picture is the alley created by the trees on either side of the road, and this is also known as the framing device. Although framing is the main device, there are certainly others. The trees also play to other devices’ characteristics. For one, there is certainly symmetry and patterns that are accented by the trees. I also noticed that the road itself, leading through the trees, created a leading line that walks you through the photo.

My dog, Darbie, and my cat, Sport in Baggs, Wyoming.

My dog, Darbie, and my cat, Sport in Baggs, Wyoming.

This picture was one that I stumbled upon as I walked out of my house the other day. It’s not often you will see my cat and dog in the same yard together, yet alone on the same porch and within five feet of each other. The dominant creative device that I thought was best used in this picture was balancing elements. The cat or dog by themselves would have really left an open void on the other side of the picture. Luckily enough, my pets were in the giving spirit and lined up about as well as I could have hoped for. The other device I noticed being used was the rule of thirds. If you notice, the cat and dog are lined up with both the vertical third and the horizontal running through them in their respected corners of the photo.

A mountain range seen from the top of Battle Pass.

A mountain range seen from the top of Battle Pass.

If you were wondering why there’s another picture from Battle Pass, it’s actually a simple answer. It’s on the way home, and I know where the best views are. This picture was taken from the top of the pass. Depth was the creative device that I thought was most dominant in this photo. The purpose behind the depth device is to capture an object in the foreground that unconsciously speaks to the viewer’s eye about the extreme depth that the picture has. I think that the few trees on the side and the smaller one in the middle are noticeable, but very easily overlooked because of the big, blue mountains in the background. The trees serve another purpose in this picture too. The trees are good sized, so the fact that the mountains dwarf them, really helps establish size within the picture. This brings more focus onto the main object of the photo.

Very old Bud Light can found in stream bed.

Very old Bud Light can found in stream bed.

I actually found this photo opportunity by complete accident. I was actually trying to find a good angle for the next photo that I will show, I looked down, and this very old Bud Light can just seemed to jump out at me. For that very reason, the creative device used while capturing this picture was the background device. The purpose behind this device is to find a background that doesn’t blend in with your main subject at all. The way the beer can stands out from the water and the stream bank certainly creates this effect. I noticed that the rule of thirds could also be used here. The beer can seems to be placed along the intersect of the top third and the right third of the picture, which creates balance and interest in photos.

Fall colors starting to show in the mountains.

Fall colors starting to show in the mountains.

As much as I do like this picture, I feel like I missed an incredible picture by about a week or two. Most of the colors in this picture are green, and not the usual orange, red, and yellow that accompany the fall season. The creative device I used in this picture was experimentation. I took several pictures in order to portray the fall colors, but even though they aren’t quite showing yet, I really like the picture. This picture also could contain the viewpoint device very easily. I had to crawl down into a small draw to get the viewpoint of shooting up at the trees, and that created an interesting viewpoint for the photo.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised by how much better the quality of a picture becomes when you use the creative devices of photography. Although you certainly have to take pictures upon pictures in order to get the right one, I was a little shocked at how much I liked taking and finding the perfect picture.

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The 180 Degree Turn

The Resume

Five years ago, the Rawlins Outlaw basketball team was coming off a 7-win season. Much of that changed when Denver Allard was hired as the new Outlaw basketball coach.

Although the 2008 Outlaw team only notched three wins for Allard, the skepticism was quickly washed away. The following season, Allard took his team to the unfamiliar scene of the State Tournament. The Outlaws recorded 20 wins that season and won the conference championship, which was the first to come to Rawlins in nine years.

Denver Allard

Denver Allard (from his Facebook page)

“My goal was to turn the program around, and establish a program that Rawlins could be proud of”, said Allard. A case can be made that he has certainly done that. Since his first and only losing season in Rawlins, Coach Allard has recorded 71 wins and only 37 losses.

“I was wondering how things would work after the first year”, said Allard. Although it seems as if the win-loss record certainly dismissed his concerns, Allard was very quick to give all the credit to the kids.

Where it all started

Allard arrived in Rawlins after a few coaching stints in South Dakota and Hanna, Wyoming. He not only came with coaching experience, but also with experience playing basketball at the college level. Allard played basketball both at UNV Williston and NSU Bottineau, according to Allard.

After coaching middle school basketball in Rawlins for two years, Allard took over the head-coaching job from Linzie Green. Green was a coach that did very well with the talent he had, and was someone that was very respected, said Allard.

Allard impressed many as soon as he stepped onto the scene. According to Rawlins Athletic Director Darlene O’Melia, Allard was impressive, knowledgeable, professional, and very organized. “You could tell that he really loved the game of basketball”, said O’Melia.

The aura of impressiveness seems to have spread to the players on the court as well. Alex Collier, a senior basketball player, said, “Overall, I would say that Coach Allard is a wonderful coach all around.”

Optimism in the air

Not only does Allard have a great track record in the past, there is a feeling of optimism floating around about the upcoming season. In a few words, Allard summed up how he felt about the 2013 season. “It’s a very good time to be in the Outlaw Program”, said Allard.

The outlaws are coming off a season in which they won another conference title, and are returning two key players to the court this year. All-State guard, Jaylin Krening and All-Conference forward, Alex Collier are expected to be the leaders of the team this year, according to Allard. These two are tremendous basketball players, but they always put the team ahead of themselves, said Allard.

Photo Courtesy of Denver Allard

Photo Courtesy of Denver Allard

The Outlaws put in a lot of hard work this offseason, according to Allard and Collier. The team played about 35 games this summer, and the younger players got a lot of good playing time, said Allard.

Not only did the team play several games this summer, Collier thinks that they are better than ever. “This past summer we played the best basketball we ever have”, said Collier.

The Mindset

As for the future, it certainly looks like good things are ahead for the Outlaw Basketball program. At the end of the day, the program seems to be going wherever Allard takes it.

The one destination that is on the senior, Collier’s mind, is going to the State Championship. This could be the year for us to take the State Title, said Collier. The Outlaws have won the consolation game twice under Allard, but have never made an appearance in the State Championship game.

In coaching, the legacy that is left once the coach is gone is often what they are remembered by. However, Allard does not measure his success by the way people think of him.

Allard holds himself to a very high standard. “Whether it be teaching or coaching, I want to look myself in the mirror, and feel like I did my very best for the kids and the school”, said Allard.

Apparently, this attitude has rubbed off on his senior forward, Collier. The most important lesson that Allard has taught is to always work as hard as possible in everything that you do, said Collier.

As for Allard’s big secret to winning basketball games, it’s actually pretty simple. “The kids make the coach. I’ve been very blessed with the players I’ve been presented”, said Allard.

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Coal can be Interesting?

I was looking at a multimedia source yesterday about coal usage and production in the United States. The page was called “Coal: A Love Story”. Frankly, I was kind of blown away not only for the content on the page, but by how easy it was to navigate and explore the page.

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

I know what you are probably thinking. A lot of boring graphs and facts about coal, how can that be interesting? This just goes to show, if you put boring graphs and facts into a format that grabs attention, you can certainly make it work. The page was set up with great videos and visuals that really walk browsers through the page. I perused the page by simply scrolling down and clicking on each link. By the end of my scrolling, I had a great inkling of the message being transmitted.

There are certain things that need to happen on a page for optimal navigation to be obtained. There were very few mistakes that this page made. However, if I were a knit-picker, I’d point out that the site might have used too many navigation options. Usually seven is a good, round number for the amount of links or other options, but this page has upwards of ten.

There was another problem that I encountered with the site. I think that it’s important for a page such as this to provide an easy way to contact the organization. However, it was certainly not something that I found with a quick scroll down the page. If you put so much effort into sending out a message, make it easy to get into contact.

I wanted to compare my thoughts on the page with one of my buddies, just to make sure I wasn’t biased because something caught my eye. However, my friend had the same thoughts. He was a little skeptical when I asked him if he could help me with my journalism project, but he came to my aide anyways.

His first thoughts were how easy it was to follow the cord on the site that connected each video, and hence, connected the whole story.  The coal page really doesn’t give you an alternative thing to look at first, unless you just skip over the start of the story. He went through the page from top to bottom in order. Apparently, he has more of a keen eye than I, so he found the contact information a little quicker than myself. Still, it did take him a while to find it once I prompted him to try and locate the information.

The fact that Billy and I picked up on basically the exact same things really sold me. We were both impressed at the fact that the page basically walked the user through the story. Simplicity and usability are very important qualities with pages like this, and this story about coal nailed that point.

The website is definitely doing the right things in my mind. The use of videos, in order to make the information interesting was genius. The navigation tactics that they use are great. It’s so self-explanatory. The other thing the site should certainly maintain is the way they show both sides of the story. They really show the pros and cons of coal mining.

Like I said, there were a few minor problems. The website may want to lower the number of links in the story, it could overwhelm some viewers. Second, they need to make themselves more accessible. Put your contact information in a place that is easy to see. Lastly, don’t make the presentation so long please.

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Biased for the Unbiased

Personally, I’ve always been a little ashamed of my lack of literacy when it comes to real-world issues and news. I’m still waiting for that day when I’m going to grow up and start paying attention, but it still just hasn’t come along. For my news, I’m a little biased towards
Sports news to me is kind of an anomaly in the world of news. What I mean by that is that for the most part, reporting the news is very cut and dry. I’m a big statistics guy, so that is what I mainly seek out when I am looking for some meaningful news. I also feel like numbers never lie, and that is why I believe sports news is very unbiased for the most part.
Other than sports news, one of the best news sources in my eyes would be the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and other informative channels in that genre. As much as history bored me in high school, when it is put into a form that catches the watchers eye, history can be intriguing. Feeding the brain is a great thing, and some entertainment sources do just that.
Sometimes, I feel like it’s almost a greeting with my group of friends when we say, “Hey man, did you see that touchdown catch last night?” Arguing about sports news with my roommates is a very frequently visited activity at our house, that’s for sure. Most of the arguments take place when one of my friends says an ill word against the Denver Broncos. I was a Bronco fan way before Peyton Manning or Tom Tebow were in Denver, for the record.

Champ Bailey

Champ Bailey

As much as I love sports news, there is no denying the fact that I need to broaden my horizons in the news department. I am going to turn twenty this year. That means that I am responsible to be literate and knowledgeable about issues happening in the world. With football season starting, it’s going to be very tough to get much CNN time in. I may follow them on Twitter though, and maybe that will force-feed me some news.

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